Fishing in New Hampshire FAQs

Frequently Asked Fishing Related Questions

How many lines can I use when I go fishing?

You are allowed to use up to two lines when fishing in open water. When ice fishing, you are allowed either six lines or two lines depending on the waterbody. In addition to the six or two lines while ice fishing, you are allowed up to six cusk fishing devices on lakes approved for cusk fishing. Check the Freshwater Fishing Digest ice fishing section for details.

Can I use a baited treble hook while ice fishing?

No, only single hooks with a single hook-point may be use with bait while ice fishing.

Can I use corn for bait while fishing?

Yes, corn may be use for bait in New Hampshire waters.

Is it legal to fish at night?

Fishing for most species is allowed any time of the day or night.  The exception is trout and salmon can only be taken from one hour before sunrise until two hours after sunset.  Some sections of rivers allow brown trout to be taken from two hours after sunset to one hour before sunrise.

Can I bring my own live baitfish into New Hampshire if I live in another state?

No.  You must purchase baitfish from a New Hampshire bait dealer or capture your own baitfish from New Hampshire waters.

In the spring, why do I see white perch on the surface struggling to swim, and stay upright in some lakes?

This behavior has been observed in some of our large lakes like Lake Winnipesaukee.  White perch seek shallow coves for spawning this time of year.  Sometimes, large egg-laden females exhibit this behavior due to their egg masses interfering with the swim bladder.  This bladder controls the fish’s buoyancy.  Consequently, these large females float to the top, struggle to dive, and float back to the surface.  Eventually, most of these fish succumb to stress and are easy targets for scavengers.

What are the rules regarding the taking of crayfish?

No license is needed for taking crayfish for personal use.  A person taking crayfish for personal use is limited to six crayfish traps.  In order to sell crayfish for bait, a bait dealer’s license is required.  Bait dealers are not limited in the number of traps.  There are no bag limits for crayfish.  All traps must be marked with the owner’s name and address.

Can I legally fish with a “Tenkara” rod in New Hampshire?

Yes, in most cases.  However, Tenkara cannot be used in “fly fishing only” waters because fly fishing is defined as “fishing by trolling or casting with only fly rod, fly reel, and fly line combination.

When does Fish and Game start stocking trout in the spring?

Generally speaking, streams are stocked when spring runoff has subsided and water temperatures have reached 45 degrees. Ponds are stocked when all or most ice is gone. Around the last week in March to the first week in April for southern NH and a few weeks later in northern NH.

Do I need a license to fish?

All persons 16 years or older need a license to fish in freshwater or saltwater in New Hampshire.

Do I need a license if my child (under 16 years) fishes while I watch them?

No you do not need a license but you cannot assist the child in anyway which includes baiting the hook, casting the line, and netting or taking the fish off the hook.

Buy a License

Start making memories on the water today! 

Learn to Fish

Let's Go Fishing connects you to the wonderful sport of fishing